The Swedish Armed Forces have launched a campaign calling the support of LGBTQ Pride to be as crucial to the military as defending the country from hostile foreign threats.
The campaign, which was launched amid the ongoing instability in the region following Russia’s military action against Ukraine, claims that Pride festivals are “more important than ever” and are part of the military’s “core values.”
The Swedish military stated: “There are those who claim that the Armed Forces have more important things to focus on right now than waving the Pride flag. Rights are pitted against each other and one wonders what is more important: a strong defense or everyone’s equal worth?”
“For us, there is no contradiction. The task of the Armed Forces is to defend Sweden, everyone who lives here, our democracy and our rights. Because in the end, no one stands without rights and without protection,” the statement added.
Crucially, the Swedish military says that it is just as important to promote the celebration of Pride to be as important – if not more so, – than defending Sweden from a hostile foreign power.
Swedish Armed Forces Supreme Commander Micael Bydén has personally marched in Pride parades and stated a primary function of the military should be to show its support for the LGBTQ movement.
“Our participation in Pride is an active stance for the equal value of people and a natural part of the responsibility as an employer for our employees and volunteers,” he said.
“The armed forces are simply secure in their core values and everyone who has the will and ability to contribute to the defense should feel welcome. By participating in Pride, the Armed Forces want to show their tolerance for people's differences in the country we are supposed to defend. That is why we are part of Pride.”
The Swedish armed forces website also includes a personal blog post from a self-professed transsexual who explains what it is like to come out as a transsexual in the military.